Alberta’s government announced on Tuesday, August 1 it is investing $45 million through two funding competitions through the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) fund to encourage new hydrogen technologies, and Wheatland County could be in a prime position to become a new energy hub within the province.
A total of $25 million will be available through the Alberta Innovates’ Hydrogen Centre of Excellence stream, which is geared for early-stage innovations-$5 million of this funding is being provided from Natural Resources Canada through its own Energy Innovation Program; an additional $25 million will also be available through the Emissions Reduction Alberta stream for later-stage hydrogen technologies, and locally, Wheatland County is looking at potential benefits.
“We aspire to establish a regional New Energy hub that can meet the power needs of the Calgary region and beyond,” reads a statement from Wheatland County. “Drawing inspiration from the remarkable successes of the Alberta Industrial Heartland in the Edmonton region, we are engaged in continuous dialogue with government bodies at all levels to determine the most impactful path forward.”
The Mail reported in March 2023 that Wheatland County had expressed its interest in attracting new hydrogen and other new energy developments through its “open for business” mindset.
Already the county has attracted Rocky Mountain Clean Fuels Inc. and Nutrien to its municipality, and continues to see “strong interest” from a number of other potential new energy developments. There are already several initiatives at various stages of development underway, including a hydrogen fueling station and carbon sequestration hub, according to the statement.
The county is also partnering with Mount Royal University’s Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in hopes to “initiate a new energy cohort” and will help the county “cater to the escalating demands of this rapidly evolving sector.”
Neighbouring Starland County shares its Economic Development team have been pursuing investments in the hydrogen industry, though with little success at this time. Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Christopher Robblee notes the county may not pursue applications for funding at this time due to a lack of leads and interest, “though it is worth considering.”
The Mail also reached out to Kneehill County but as of press time had not received response back.